What Are The Four Functions Of Management

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The Four Functions of Management
Ben Reynolds
October 23rd 2011
Shawn Frederick
The Four Functions of Management Foundational management principles have existed for years. Some have remained unchanged and effective for a long time. There are also those that are always continuing to evolve. Within these principles are four traditional functions. They include planning, organizing, leading, and, controlling. This following text will define each of these functions in detail. Using examples to illustrate each of them.
Goal setting is an essential part of any business process. Achieving these goals requires careful planning. Current situations should be analyzed. Some attempt should be made to anticipate the future. Objectives are defined. Decisions will be made regarding what activities will be engaged in to achieve said goals based on these initial steps (Management, 2009). Recently the organization I work, Unisource Worldwide, made significant changes to its commission program for sales reps. Goals set included, reducing variable selling expense as a percent of gross margin and incenting the correct selling behavior for profitable growth. An analysis of the current situation revealed that the program that was in place was, as a percent of gross margin, more expensive than other, world class organizations. Additionally, the analysis showed that sales professionals were not incented to sell products in a manner that was the most profitable to the company. Our objectives were to create a new program that remedied these issues in a manner that kept the risk of employee turnover to a minimum. A series of brainstorming sessions with employees at several levels within the company revealed what activities would need to be engaged in order to achieve these objectives.
In most situations organized people are more successful in accomplishing their goals than those that are not organized. Becoming an effective organizer will increase the likelihood of one becoming an effective manager (heather-rothbauer-wanish, 2011). Organizing is assembling and coordinating several things. Some of these elements include the human, financial, physical, and informational resources. Attracting people to the organization, specifying job responsibilities and grouping jobs into work units are examples of organizing the human element. Allocating resources, both physical, informational and, human, properly, are also features of organizing (Management, 2009). A few years ago Unisource identified locations it has throughout the county that were underperforming. A plan was developed to improve their performance. To execute the plan, tasks would need to be performed by individuals in several departments. As a result the manager leading the project organized who those individuals would be and identified what physical resources he or she would need. These resources were identified as laptop computers, to use for analysis and presentation of findings, travel resources, for team members to visit locations, and data, for use during analysis. Leading. Stimulating high performance is the primary goal of leading. This involves communication both to groups and well as individuals. Regular, and often, daily communication to stimulate and inspire team members to achieve goals effectively will certainly be required. In the aforementioned situation in which Unisource had identified the goal of improving the profitability of certain locations, the leader of the project held weekly meetings, via conference call with team members. This person also called